Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Veg Calzone !


Calzone is an Italian filled or folded Pizza where it is generally stuffed with ham/salami combined with mozarella or ricotta cheese. I have made a vegetarian version of it with the classic spinach ricotta combo. The basic dough is the same for pizza and calzone and if you have the dough handy then making calzone is a breeze.
Sometimes, a smaller version of this made and deep fried too. If you are interested in other Italian recipes do check out HERE


INGREDIENTS (Makes 1 Big Calzone)
  • 1 1/2 cups Plain flour
  • salt as needed
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 tbsp Oil
For the stuffing
  • 150 gms Ricotta Cheese
  • 100 gms sliced mushrooms
  • 100 gms Spinach leaves
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • salt as needed
  • 1/2 tsp crushed black pepper
  • a pinch of paprika (or chilli flakes)
  • 1/4 cup Grated Cheese (Cheddar or Mozarella)
STEPS

  • Mix the yeast in warm water with a tsp of sugar and set aside for 10 minutes or until it turns foamy.. means the yeast is activated.


  • Take flour in a wide bowl, add salt, olive oil (or any oil) and the activated yeast mixture to it.


  • Knead everything together to make a soft and pilable dough. Apply oil on the surface of dough and also on the sides of bowl and set aside for minimum one hour. The dough should have doubled in size by now.


  • Meanwhile when the dough is resting, heat oil  / butter in pan and add the sliced mushrooms and fry them. 
  • Sprinkle some salt and pepper anf fry them well till all the water that is released evaporates and looks something like the below picture.


  • Now add the washed spinach leaves and saute for a minute or two and then turn off stove. 
  • Punch back and knead the dough again once and make into a flat circle with finger tips.


  • Use a rolling pin and roll into a thin flat circle and then spread the ricotta cheese on one half of the circle leaving a couple of inches from the edges.
  • Layer the spinach and mushroom mixture on it and then top with lot of grated cheese.


  • Fold the other half to give a semicircle shape, and twist the edges and seal them tight securing the filling. Put few small slits on top for the steam to escape.
  • Place on a baking tray carefully and bake for 15 minutes or until it is golden brown in color. (at 190 - 200 deg C)

NOTES

  • Make sure the yeast is proved before adding to the flour.
  • Rest for minimum one hour for the dough to double in size.
  • Do not roll the dough too thick , and you can divide the dough into 2 or 3 balls and make smaller calzones.
  • The filling is purely your choice, the ricotta and spinach can be replaced with some sauted veggies like peppers and courgettes too.
  • I have used Cheddar and Red Leicester Cheese, you can use mozarella too. 
  • If you are not using ricotta, then use some sauce like, pasta/pizza sauce or pesto at the bottom and then add the veggies while stuffing.

With Love,

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Christmas Fruit Cake !


Hey Guys.. 
I'm back.. with a bang of course. All these days I'm really not sure what kept me away from the wonderful blogging world. Numerous reasons to quote.. naughty toddler at home, intermittent issues with my Camera, the weather and the bad lighting etc etc .. 
But now, none of those could stop me from blogging  a series of yummy recipes for this festive season. With hubby at home (read to babysit :) ) I get to cook some delicious meal and click some wonderful pics and mainly some time to compose and present before you all. So stay tuned for this Holiday series !


Coming to the recipe, I wanted to try this cake since a long time but couldn't find a proper recipe and I didn't want to use rum/brandy too for some X Y reasons.
After exploring a number of videos and blogs for this Christmas cake from Martha Stewart to Vahchef I finally made my own proportions learning a lot of tips and tricks.
Traditionally, dry fruits are soaked in RUm / Brandy for a month atleast and then used in the recipe. But then I was too lazy to do that and I used Freshly squeezed Orange Juice to soak and only 24 hrs. (the more you soak the more tasty it is). Don't ask me the aroma that wafts your kitchen.. It is heavenly and I want you all to experience it for sure. 
What are you waiting for.. Go ahead and soak your dry fruits first !
And yes, wish you all a merry christmas and happy holidays !


INGREDIENTS (used a 9 inch x 3 inch spring form pan)
  • 250 gms Plain flour (All purpose flour / Self raising flour/ Maida)
  • 250 gms Dark Muscovado Sugar
  • 225 gms unsalted butter
  • 4 Medium Eggs
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg Powder
  • 1 tsp spice mix
  • 1/2 tsp Ginger Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Lemon and Orange Zest
  • 75 gms Nuts (walnuts/cashews/almonds/pecans/brazilnuts)
  • 300 - 350 gms Dry Fruits (Raisins, sultanas, currants, apricots, cranberries, candied orange, pineapple and papaya)
  • 250 ml fresh orange Juice (to soak the dry fruits)




STEPS
  • Squeeze some fresh orange Juice and soak your dry fruits. Cover it with a cling film and set aside for 24 hours. (or more if you have time).
  • Give a mix once in 3 - 4 hours.


  • On the day of baking, cut the grease paper for the bottom of the pan. 
  • Also cut a double layered sheet of paper of 4 - 5 inches height and length equal to the circumference of the pan. Fold the edge of the sheet and give some slits so that it sits properly on the pan.
  • First cover the pan (from inside) as shown in third pic with the big sheet of paper.(like a fence)
  • Then spray some oil / butter and then place the round grease paper and again brush / spray some butter.


  •  If you have too much juice left after the soaking period then drain them out. 
  • Take butter at room temperature and in a wide mixing bowl beat them (with whisk / electric beater) for half a minute.

  •  Then add the sugar and beat until creamy and then Add the eggs to the sugar butter mixture.


  •  Beat them all well. Dont worry if the mixture looks curdled. 
  • Add the soaked dry fruits and then followed by nuts (I used more walnuts, less cashews and chopped almonds)
  • Preheat your oven to 160 deg C


  •  Sieve flour, salt, baking powder and the spice powders.
  • Add little flour at a time and begin folding it in the wet mixture.


  •  When all of your flour is folded you batter would be looking like this.
  • Add orange and/or lemon zest and give a final folding.
  • Spoon your thick batter to the paper lined tray.


  •  Just level the batter on top and tap the tin once against the counter gently.
  • Place it in the preheated oven and bake for one hour initially at 160 deg C. (Note , the top portion of cake is not covered initially, and only the sides are covered.)
  • After an hour if you feel the cake is getting browned too much on top then place a round grese paper on top of cake too.
  • My cake took 1 hr and 35 mins to bake and for the skewer to come out clean.
  • I checked after an hour, covered with paper on top, and then after 15 mins (skewer inserted in middle was wet). . again after 20 minutes it came out clean.
  • Remove the cake from oven, and remove the spring form. 
  • It takes a lot of time to cool, so do not disturb it for an hour atleast.

The paper comes our easily. and then you can cut and enjoy your cake.



NOTES
  • I have used slightly less butter. But when your flour:butter:sugar are in equal quantities your cake undoubtedly turns out delectable. So for above mentioned recipe, you can use upto 250 gms butter.
  • Dark Muscovado Sugar gives this rich dark color to the cake without any addition of Cocoa/Chocolate. In case you don't have access to this, you can use normal brown sugar (Demarera) or even white sugar. 
  • Some people use caramel syrup to this recipe to get the brown color. you can do that if you are using white sugar.
  • I got a pack of mixed dry fruits which had almost everything I mentioned in the Ingredients list. Additionally I got a small snacking pack of dry fruits where it had some candied papaya and pineapple too. You can use the tuti fruti that comes in various colors too. 
  • My dry fruits are soaked in Fresh Orange Juice for 24 hrs. You can use the juice of your choice like Apple or Grapes. Or to get the traditional Christmas touch soak them in Rum / Brandy !
  • The batter for this cake is very thick and not runny and has to be baked slowly at low temperature. So do not compromise with time. Bake at 150 - 160 dec C only.
  • And do not forget the grease paper on the sides. this definitely prevents the cake from browning quickly.
  • Even after adding 4 eggs if you feel your batter is too heavy and thick you can add a couple of tablespoons of the same juice you used to soak the dry fruits. (Or rum /brandy)
  • Do not disturb he oven when baking is in process atleast for the first one hour.
  • After baking the cake, and once it is cooled, you can poke some holes with a skewer and pour some rum /brandy through the tiny holes (once in 3 - 4 hours) and let the cake absorb all of them . Make sure you dont pour too much and make the cake soggy.



Once again, wish you all a merry Christmas ! 
In case of any doubts when making this delicious cake, do reach me at  pavithiravijay@gmail.com
Enjoy the festive season with yummy food and have a great holidays!

Regards,

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Broccoli Paratha !



Its been a while I posted something and this winter climate is making me lazy or should I say I was busy with some other hobbies :). Finally I managed some time to post this pending one.
Broccoli one of the veggies that I hate to the core, and mostly do not like to eat in any form has taken a new avatar in this way as a paratha. I must mention the Indian spices does its magic and make the broccoli yummy. If you are interested in more Parathas, do check out HERE

INGREDIENTS ( No Onion No Garlic) (Makes 4 to 5 Parathas)
  • 1 cup Wheat Flour
  • 1 small Broccoli 
  • 1 tbsp Oil
  • 1 tsp Jeera
  • a pinch of Hing
  • 2 Green Chillis
  • 1/2 tsp Red Chilli Powder
  • 1 tsp Coriander Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Jeera Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Amchur Powder
  • salt as needed
STEPS
  • Knead wheat flour with salt and little oil to a soft and pliable dough.
  • Grate the broccoli finely leaving the stems.
  •  Heat oil in pan and add Jeera and cumin seeds. Once they turn slightly brown add the finely chopped green chillis, 
  • Saute for few seconds and add the grated broccoli keeping flame in medium.

  •  Saute the broccoli for 30 seconds approx and add all the spice powders and salt. 
  • Turn off stove and let it cool. Roll the dough to a small flat circle and keep about one n half tbsp of filling in it.


  • Weave the edges and pinch off the extra. Slowly roll them in to flat circle (with thickness of your choice) securing the filling.


  • Place it on a very hot tawa and cook one side. Flip it and apply some oil / ghee and cook the other side till brown spots appear on the surface.
  • Repeat for all the other dough balls.

NOTES

  • Do not cook broccoli for a long time. 
  • Adjust spices as per taste.
  • Serve with pickle and curd or any chutney of your choice.



With Love,

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Chicken Korma !



Chicken Korma or qorma is a mughalai dish and well known for its rich and creamy gravy. This dish  is not for weight watchers I tell you, It has all sorts of rich and calorific ingredients like yogurt, cream and nut paste.It is not to be confused with the South Indian dish Kuruma, 
Though Korma/ Qorma originated somewhere in Central Asia and introduced in India by the Mughals , it came down south and renamed as Kuruma. Most of the ingredients used in south indian Kuruma are different from this Korma.


INGREDIENTS

  • 500 gms chicken
  • 4 - 5 tbsp oil
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 4 - 5 Cloves
  • 2 Black Cardamoms
  • 4 Green Cardamoms
  • 1 stick Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Jeera / Shahi Jeera
  • 1 tbsp Ginger Garlic Paste
  • 2 Medium Tomatoes (Pureed)
  • 1/2 cup Yogurt
  • salt as needed
  • 2 tsp Red Chilli Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 2 tsp Coriander Powder
  • 1 tsp Cumin Powder
  • a pinch of nutmeg powder
  • 1/4 tsp Sugar

For Korma Paste

  • 1/2 cup Brown Onions
  • 10 Cashew nuts
  • 2 tsp Poppy Seeds
  • 6 - 7 Almonds
  • 2 Green Chillis

STEPS

  • Slice the onions thinly and deep fry them in oil till golden brown.
  • Soak cashewnuts and almonds for around 30 minutes. Remove the skin of almonds.


  • Grind together the brown onions, green chillis, cashewnuts, almonds and poppy seeds with some water to a very fine paste.


  •  Wash the chicken well 3 - 4 times and keep all spices and yogurt ready.


  •  In a pressure cooker heat oil and add all the whole spices to it.
  • Fry in medium flame for 1 - 2 minutes and then add Ginger Garlic Paste and fry till raw smell fades. 


  •  Add in the tomato puree and cook for 4 - 5 minutes  (close the cooker with a lid).
  • Once the tomatoes are well cooked and starts to leave oil add the onion paste and mix well.


  •  Add in the whisked yogurt (keeping the flame low) and all the spice powders and salt.
  • Adjust water and mix everything well.
  • Allow it to cook for 7 - 8 minutes(in medium flame) (again closing the cooker with a lid)


  •  Now add the chicken pieces and the nutmeg powder, sugar to it and close the cooker with its lid well and allow it to cook for 2 whistles.
  • Wait till the pressure releases on its own.
  • Add cream and give a mix and cook on stove top in low flame for 2 - 3 minutes and turn off stove.

NOTES

  • Chicken can be marinated with salt, lime juice and GG paste before adding to the masala.
  • Do not add more onion paste else the gravy becomes slightly bitter.
  • Adding cream is optional , but it does enhances the taste and texture of the gravy. (I didnt use)
  • Instead of deep frying the onions, you can also shallow fry them until golden brown and crisp, but make sure not to burn them here and there, else gravy will taste bitter.
  • Cashewnuts is mandatory, even if you skip the Almonds. Also melon seeds can be added when grinding the paste.
  • Chicken leaves lot of water when cooking, so adjust water accordingly before cooking for 2 whistles.
  • Make sure to cook the gravy well till oil separates on top.


With Love,

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Prawn Biriyani (One pot / Cooker Method)



Its been a while I posted something as I was busy with birthday preparations. Yes my little one turned 2 :) couple of days back. And in this non veg series up next is delicious biriyani made in minutes in cooker or a heavy bottomed pot. This one pot method makes life so easy and perfect for a weekend lunch. I love the flavor of prawns, and my favourite is the Prawn Thokku made from small variety prawns. If you are interested in pther Biriyani and Non veg recipes do check out HERE (and scroll down)


INGREDIENTS

  • 750 gms Prawns
  • 1 1/2 cup Basmati Rice
  • 4 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp Shahi Jeera
  • 1/2 tsp Fennel Seeds
  • 1 Black Cardamom
  • 3 Green Cardamom
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 4 - 5 Cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 Star Anise
  • a piece of stone flower
  • a piece of mace
  • 1 tbsp Ginger Garlic Paste
  • 1 Big Onion (Sliced)
  • 2 Medium Tomatoes
  • 2 Potatoes(Optional)
  • 3 - 4 Green Chillis
  • handful mint leaves
  • handful coriander leaves
  • 1 thumb size ginger julienned
  • 1 onion (sliced n caramelised)
  • 1/2 cup curd /yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1 tbsp Red Chilli powder (I used mild kashmiri red chilli pwder)
  • 1 tbsp Coriander Powder
  • 1/2 tbsp Cumin Powder
  • 1/2 tbsp Garam Masala (or Biriyani Masala)
  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 1/2 lemon 
  • salt as needed


STEPS

  • Prawns are very simple to clean but time consuming when you have lots of them.
  • In case you are wondering how to clean them, here are few simple steps.
  • Pinch off the tail and then the head. Having done this, you can see a transparent shell covering the body along with the legs.


  • From the top just pinch and squeeze off that shell along with legs. Everything should come out clean, else rub your fingers through the body and in case any shell / skin left out , remove them.
  • And yes , now you are left with just the juicy flesh ready to cook.
  • Wash and soak basmati rice for minimum 30 minutes.
  • Slice onions and shallow / deep fry them until they are nice brown and caramelised.


  • In a heavy bottomed stockpot or a pressure cooker, add 3 - 4 tbsp oil.
  • Once hot add the whole spices and let them release its flavours. (say 1 minute)
  • Then add the shahi jeera and the fennel seeds followed by Ginger Garlic Paste.


  • Fry the paste for few seconds and then add sliced onions.Saute the onions until they become slight golden brown in color.
  • If you are adding potatoes add them now and saute along with onions for 1 - 2 minutes and then add chopped tomatoes.


  • When the tomatoes turn soft, add slit chillis, julienned ginger, chopped mint and coriander leaves and yogurt / curd. 
  • Mix everything well and add salt and all the spice powders.


  • Give a mix and then add the cleaned and washed prawns.


  • Add water and soaked basmati rice to it.Close and cook for 7 - 8 minutes on high flame.


  • If you have a hole in your lid, just close it with a clove so that the steam dont escape.
  • After 7 to 8 mins of cooking in high flame, you can see the water would have almost absorbed, now sprinkle the brown onions on top and close the lid immediately (without any stirring).
  • Now cook in low flame for anothe 10 -12 minutes or until rice is perfectly cooked,
  • Squeeze lemon juice on top and serve hot.


NOTES

  • If you are making this in pressure cooker, use water a little less than mentioned. (2 cups should be enough). And cook for only 1 or max 2 whistle and turn off stove. Let the steam reelase on its own.Basmati rice cooks really fast and you dont want your rice to turn mushy.
  • Adding potatoes is optional. but it gives a nice soft bite to the biriyani.
  • If you dont have biriyani masala, its perfectly fine, just use the other spice powders.
  • In case you biryani masala, and wish to use that alone, then skip the other spice powders or reduce them.
  • Prawns also release some water when cooking, and the rice is also soaked for 30 minutes, so I used 2 1/4 cups water for 1 1/2 cups rice.

With Love,